A classic Semla recipe – a Swedish pastry with almond paste, cognac and cream


How to make Semlor

Time: 40 min + 1 1/2 -2 h fermentation + 8-10 min in oven

Work the dough with a dough hook for quite some time until the dough is elastic. A high oven temperature and a short baking time will result in juicy nice buns.

Ingredients (20 buns)
50 g (0.1 lb) yeast
5 dl (2 cups) milk
14 dl (6 cups) flour (800 g)
1,5 dl (0.7 cup) sugar
150 g (0.33 lb) butter, unsalted (room temperature)
1 msk cardamom
1 teaspoon salt

Almond paste
200 g Valencia almonds
150 g powdered sugar
1 egg white
1 dl (0.4 cup)  whipped cream
A dash of cognac (optional)
A pinch of sea salt

5 dl (2 cups) Whipped cream
Powdered sugar

1 egg



1. Crumble the yeast into the bowl of a stand mixer. Add the remaining ingredients. Use the dough hook and work it slowly for about 2 minutes. Increase speed and work the dough for about 10 minutes more.

2. Put the dough in a bowl and cover with plastic wrap. Let it rise for about an hour (until double the size).

3. Put the dough on a floured surface and divide it into 20 pieces. Place them on a baking tray with parchment paper. Let them rise under a kitchen towel for 30 minutes.

4. Preheat the oven to 225 °C (437 °F). Bake for 8-10 minutes until golden. Remove and brush them with a beaten egg. Let them cool on a rack.

5. When cooled down, cut of a small lid in the bun and remove a table spoon of the the bun dough and put into the almond paste.

6. Blend the almonds gently, you still want some crunchy pieces left for better texture. Stir together with the other ingredients and the cutout dough from the buns.

7. Put the almond paste in the cutout hole, add whipped cream and then put on the lid and sprinkle some powdered sugar on top.


Foto: Petter Bäcklund

Good luck and enjoy these delicious pastries. Semlor are a classic treat served in January and February in Sweden. This is a classic recipe but there are a lot of different modern varieties as well.